By: Matt Fraction (writer), Salvador Larroca (art), Frank D’Armata (colors) & Joe Caramanga (letters)

The Story: Pepper Potts get her new suit of armor and Tony tries to rebuild his company.

What’s Good: This story is finally starting to come around and I think it just took Fraction a few issues to reestablish a status quo after his epic 18 issue World’s Most Wanted/Stark Disassembled run.  Perhaps we just needed to be patient….

Just as with the Iron Man movies, this comic is way, way more fun and interesting when Pepper Potts is a part of the action.  She has been in the background on this story arc, but comes front and center in this issue as she receives her new repulsor in her chest and wants to immediately go play with her new armor.  I love that Fraction has Pepper in her own suit!

The return of Pepper means the return of this wack0 love triangle between Pepper, Tony and Maria Hill.  I have to hand it to Fraction that he’s used Tony’s memory wipe to push things right back to a will-they-or-won’t-they mood every time Pepper or Maria is alone with Tony.  In some ways it is even more fun because the ladies both remember sleeping with Tony and clearly have feelings for him, yet he’s just being his typical cad self and nowhere is that more clear than in what Tony pulls at the end of this issue.  You’ll just want to choke him!

I’m not a huge fan of Larroca’s photo tracing and there are lots of odd faces in this issue, but if you compare Larroca’s art to that of Greg Land (another photo tracer of note), at least Larroca bothers to give his faces expressions and emotions that fit the scene.

What’s Not So Good: I am hugely bored by this reestablishment of Tony’s business: Stark Resilient.  As a MBA-type during the day, I’ve always noticed that there are LOTS of TV shows about physicians and lawyers, but not many good ones about business (Mad Men might be the first).  Perhaps Fraction missed this fact: business just isn’t interesting story fodder.

I’m also really not enjoying whatever Rhody is doing in this comic.  I know he is a key component of the Iron Man family, but this just isn’t very interesting.

Finally, should we change the title of this comic to “Invincible Tony Stark”?  Since seeing Tony play with the new Iron Man armor, we’ve just been looking at Tony’s grinning mug for 3-4 issues now.  I’m ready to see some Iron Man in my Iron Man comic book, please.

Conclusion: Despite the lack of Iron Man and a few dull story threads, the presence of Pepper and her new armor really spiced this issue up and restores my hope for this title.  Things are looking up.

Grade: B-

– Dean Stell